Smoking incredible ribs and chicken is supremely easy

There is nothing hard about smoking some of the best ribs and chicken you'll ever eat.

In mid-2019 I started playing with a bullet smoker, and I have learned a lot along the way.

Rather than go with a gas grill, as I'd had at my previous home, I decided that I wanted a ceramic Kamado-style one. I rarely used the gas one, but had been using the Weber bullet-smoker a lot. The Kamado seemed to me an evolutionary step towards something better. It is very much a big bullet smoker make of a few 100 lbs of ceramic — rather than a few measly pounds of some steel. That bulk of ceramic sucks up and holds lot of heat pretty quickly.

For chicken and ribs, I only need to use a ½ basket on my 18.5" size egg. I use the included divider to group all my lump charcoal to one side, and I place a single firestarter at the far end of it. After 10-15 minutes of starting the coals up fully open, I close up the egg's lid and let it warm up with the vents fully open. As it reaches my target temp it is just then a matter of dropping in the insert I want to use and starting to close down the vents at the top and bottom.

I will futz with the vents if I think I need to but generally it locks in where I wanted and stays there for about 5 ½ hours on one ½ load of the super cheap lump charcoal I buy from a local liquor store that happens to carry it. An awesome thing that I believe helps the Kamado deliver deep smokey flavor and awesome smoke rings to my food is using lump charcoal. Lump charcoal is basically pre-burnt wood and heat is always delivered via wood smoke. No chip box or foil packets. No adding chunks of wood to charcoal briquettes. You can find all the different varieties of wood for various flavors. In SoCal, where I live, mesquite and oak are super available.

I suggest seasoning your chicken and ribs the night before and letting them sit in your fridge, but honestly I am not sure it makes a huge difference and often season them minutes before putting them into the smoker. You can use any seasonings you like.

Regulating the amount of air that can get to the fire is how you control the temperature. It is really very easy. Once the grill and insert have come to whatever smoking temp I want– around 225F for the chicken and ribs — I put the meat on the grill, close it up and leave it the hell alone for 5 to 5 ½ hours.

At 5 hours I might take the chicken off, it will be more tender and juicy — it'll start to dry out a bit around 5 ½ – 6 hours.

I often add some pre-packaged sausages like "Apple Gouda" or "Jabanero Mango Pineapple" at hour 5 and leave them on for the final 90 minutes of cooking the ribs.

At 5 ½ hours I will open the grill and start to sauce the ribs. I do not bother doing anything to the chicken. Let the sauce turn into magic candy stuff on the ribs for another 30 min. Add extra coats if you like. They only seem to get better.

The Kamados come with a ton of inserts and attachments. For me it was the ease of moving from low-temp smoker to high-temp pizza oven that really fascinated me. So far I have the smoker and the pizza inserts, and use them frequently.

Do not worry: I still use the Weber Smokey Mountain. When I am doing food for more than 4 people, the extra space inside the Weber is super helpful and it is light, portable and goes camping.